The Comox Valley Amnesty Action Circle is standing up for human rights on International Human Rights Day, Dec. 10, from 4-6 pm at the Courtenay Library. The community is invited to join Amnesty International’s annual Write for Rights campaign. It is a global letter-writing campaign offering the public an opportunity to write on human rights issues and bring meaningful change to people and groups who need support to uphold their human rights. Last year, more than 5 million messages were sent to world leaders demanding human rights progress. This year, activists are aiming to replicate that success, focusing on critical human rights cases in countries where peoples’ rights are being violated and action is urgently needed.
This year, all cases focus on women human rights defenders, to celebrate the role of women who stand up against injustice and lead the charge for change. At the same time, we will also show how discrimination, abuse, intimidation and violence uniquely and disproportionately affect women, and in particular, women who speak out in society. Civil society’s capacity to peacefully advocate for human rights is shrinking the world over, and this is especially true for women human rights defenders.
CV Amnesty will focus on five cases. Two of these women are indigenous women defending their traditional lands, Nonhle Mbutuhuma, in South Africa and Pavri Manjhi in India. Both are harrassed and threatened. Two more are defender’s of human rights. Atena Daemi, in Iran is in jail for opposing the death penalty and advocating for women’s rights. In Morocco, Nawal Benaissa has been harassed and arrested for demanding social justice and better healthcare services. Awad, a women’s human rights defender from Sudan, registered as a UN refugee and has been waiting in Egypt for five years for the US to process her case.
This year also marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Canadian John Peters Humphrey played a central role in drafting the new Declaration in 1948, which laid out a comprehensive blueprint for a world of justice and rights. The Declaration equally recognizes the importance of civil and political rights, such as freedom of expression and protection against torture, and economic, social and cultural rights such as access to education and healthcare.
When hundreds of thousands of people around the world get together and send a clear message demonstrating they will stand by a person or group whose human rights are being violated, the impact is huge. It gives people the strength to keep going. It also sends a message to those who are violating human rights that they cannot keep their crimes secret because the world is watching. Every letter, email and petition signature chips away at the problem.
Please join members of Comox Valley Amnesty International On Monday, Dec. 10 from 4-6.
A full list with more information about all the cases featured in this year’s Write for Rights campaign is available at writeathon.ca.
For more information about the Write for Rights event contact Sheila, 250-650-6404.